What is it About MKV File Format That Makes it Effective?

If you love to download and watch videos on the Internet, you may have already heard about the MKV file format. If not it is about time you did as it is becoming one of the most popular formats around.

MKV file

Image source Image source winxdvd.com


An MKV file (extension .mkv) is an open source format that was developed by Matroska (Matroska is actually the meaning of MKV). If you are having a hard time grasping the meaning of the file, it is that it is a format like MP4 but open source. Because it is open source it allows any programmer to look at its code and make changes to it so the format becomes more functional.


There are many things that MKV can do, but its main purpose is to contain videos with audio and subtitles. What MKV does is compress the data in a video and / or audio. This is an important feature as it allows the format to hold several files at the same time. All MKV files utilize codecs, digital decoders and encoders, to embed and play video files.

With MKV, the subtitles can be downloaded, but that is not a requirement and is only an option for you. The option is available in a folder but it is up to the user to play them or not.

Compatibility with Other Media

One of the reasons why MKV has become so popular in such a short span of time has to do with the fact that it can work with different kinds of media applications, including well known ones like VLC. Yet another advantage of this format is that it is cross platform, so it works with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Its main competitors are AVI from Microsoft and MP4 from the MPEG group, the same group that developed MP3.

While those two have been around for a while, MKV has many advantages over them, not the least being it is open source. Unlike other file formats, the fact that it is open source means fixing and updating is much quicker. Perhaps the biggest advantage of MKV is that of its compression ability. Simply put, it can store more movies and videos in a single file compared to those two. And the nice thing about the format is it can squeeze in a lot more without sacrificing the quality.

Other Information

Apart from compressing files, MKV is also very versatile, able to work with different operating systems, perfect if you are say, a Windows user and you want to share the file with a friend who uses the Mac. Unlike other file formats, you no longer need to use a conversion program. This feature alone makes MKV more convenient to use than other formats.

The problem with converting is that some of the quality is lost during the process, as the conversion is never perfect. With Matroska this is not a problem at all. But do make sure that you have a codec that can play the format. If you want to download an MKV file, get the latest codec for it to avoid problems running the video.

The features outlined above for MKV file format are the latest, but its developers are not standing still. There are more features being added all the time so it won’t be long before it becomes one of if the most powerful file format for videos out there.

By Anna – There are many file formats out there on the web used for video but few are as popular right now as MKV. There are many reasons why the MKV file format has become so big. Not the least of which is its ability to compress video without losing quality. Explore the world of MKV file format and what its advantages are over other file formats.

Article by Charlie Brown

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